Selfish shoppers

An entire trolley of flour, shoppers were going crazy.

13-03-2020Peter Clover

At the time of writing this article, I have just been informed via our Town Hall’s social media platform, that the government have taken dramatic measures and issued a statement prohibiting the populus of Majorca from leaving their homes, unless of course to acquire essential items. It seems like a very strict protocol, yet I believe it is absolutely necessary to prevent further spreads of this virulent virus in order for life on our beautiful island to return to normal.

After weeks of speculation, and with our ears ringing from constant debate and reportage over the global coronavirus threat, an earlier announcement in the week was already encouraging people to remain at home, and stay away from crowds for a period of fourteen days. The Majorcan government has also been flooding their Facebook platform with advice on hygiene and social distancing, a preventative measure that even now, some individuals within the Majorcan culture seem to have trouble getting to grips with.

We have all been watching the news, so anyone over the past weeks who hasn’t been made aware of the importance of hand washing and respectful coughing into an arm or tissue must be living in a cave with no connection to the outside world. Therefore I am very disappointed at the behaviour and attitude of some local people at this moment of global crisis. Not ALL people can be judged by the actions and attitude of others, but sadly we can only speak as we find!

Even in the past few days I have still witnessed so many people, out and about in shops and supermarkets still coughing openly with no concern for others, and with no attempt to cover or catch their own germs, coronavirus related or otherwise. Even if it’s just a common cold it is still extremely bad manners to cough directly at someone with no thought or concern for the consequences! And wiping runny noses on fingers then touching produce that other people might come into contact with is nothing more than appalling and quite unforgivable.

A few weeks ago, even before the coronavirus outbreak, I wrote a piece about ‘coughs and sneezes’ and how the absence of good manners and hygiene etiquette annually spreads disease and colds across Majorca during the ‘resfriado’ season. Therefore I have been even more horrified, in the wake of all the advice that has been sent out, how certain individuals in Majorca struggle with such simple common sense.

But back to the beginning of this article, and more importantly the day before the government’s advise to stay home. Friday morning, which also happened to be the unlucky 13th, we thought it would be a good idea to hit the supermarket early and buy a few supplies. Needless to say, the entire population of Inca also had the same idea, which seemed to contradict the idea of keeping away from crowds and social distancing, with everyone panicking and stripping the shelves for their own personal lockdowns!

For weeks now I have been handing out the plastic ‘obligatory’ gloves on display to those extra special customers who either can’t read, or don’t feel it necessary for them to obey basic and recommended hygiene rules, and happily touch all the fresh produce with their germ ridden hands. As a shopper myself, I respect the recommendation and always wear the gloves provided. But the glare that some local shoppers have given me when I present them with protection from their hands often defies belief.

However, on this particular morning in question, the lack of glove use by the manic crowd of shoppers was my least concern. People were packed into the supermarket, with some coughing and sneezing everywhere – as is their tradition - without respect or concern for anyone, despite all the warnings.

Whilst waiting in the queue to the cash desk, a rather ignorant family was standing directly behinds us. They were standing VERY close and one woman was coughing quite freely over everything and everyone. Other Half asked them very politely and quite respectfully (in perfect Castellano) to please keep a safe distance, and to cover their mouths when they coughed.

Considering the current concerns over any virus transmissions you would have thought this was an entirely reasonable request, and not something to be laughed at, mocked for, or be abused over!

But such is the nature of certain individuals who go through life with their own, uneducated agenda and care Jack Sh*t for or anyone or anything. The woman in question was quite loud and typically course in her response. You know the type, overlong curly peroxide blonde hair, pushing 45 acting 20, and wearing more make-up than clothes. Of course, you can’t tell a Majorcan anything, especially this ‘senora’ for want of a better word, who was loving the attention! And rather than just accepting the advice gratefully or gracefully whichever floats your boat, she kicked off and deliberately started coughing all the more, just because she could!

Quite a few shoppers in the queue also thought this was very funny. But not ALL I might add. There was some support for the suggested protocol, but not much level of concern, which was why I was so shocked when the government and media have been trying so hard to educate the masses, and protect their families across the island. Culture here in Majorca generally dictates that families look after their ‘oldies’ and have them living with them. If coughing all over them is going to continue then what chance do they really have?

What exactly is it going to take before people sit up and listen? It’s not just a question of washing your hands regularly. Social distancing and curbing coughs might seem alien to the Majorcan culture, but is more important than just carrying on acting like this is not really happening! And there is certainly no need to become abusive when a government guideline is politely being pointed out for the benefit of a majority.

The panic buying syndrome we saw on Friday genuinely seemed to have more to do with not wanting to personally miss out, rather than any concern over containing this current virus. The top prize for selfish shopping must go to a family of shoppers who had an entire pallet of flour stashed into three trolleys. Either a small bakery business or huge fans of a flatbread!

We are all being advised to stay at home and act both responsibly and sensibly. Stay safe, but above all stay sane.

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